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Reader Comments (24)

Posted: Jan 2nd 2009 3:38PM Scarecrowe said

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I had never even heard of Lively until this article.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 9:31AM (Unverified) said

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me too, my friends, my girlfriend and her friends either.

I think that was a marketing problem.
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2009 4:02PM (Unverified) said

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"If you've wondered why most of those interfaces resemble World of Warcraft to some degree, it's less a matter of ripping off Blizzard's UI, and more about the recognition of the utility of the interface."

Oh how short people's memories are. There were plenty of MMOs with a similar interface long before WoW came out. In turn, it appears to have inherited things such as emotes and similar commands from MUDs, frankly.

Beyond that little rant, I absolutely agree with the article. Virtual Worlds try far too hard to be easy, and in doing so make everything but the most simple operations overcomplicated. LSL (Second Life's scripting language) is currently making me want to hunt down Lindens with a blunt spoon, because everything it does well, has been done, and everything interesting is unspeakably overcomplicated in it.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2009 6:31PM (Unverified) said

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I totally agree with both your statements... I was going to cry "RetCon WoW yet again?!". Often I find it irritating... it's kind of like saying a horse drawn wagon could never have existed without the the wagon.

I have made this very same observation and have begun exploring the idea of "necessary complexity" and "entertaining high complexity" in UI and game development, especially in relationship to character progression and the concept of classes. i am coming to the comclusion "classes" are to simplistic in copmparison tothe actual desire of many MMORPG players.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 12:35AM (Unverified) said

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Oh, almost every element of the WoW interface had its antecedents. There's nothing new under the sun there as far as individual elements is concerned. What it does do, in aggregate, is strike almost exactly the right balance between user, hardware interfaces, tasks and game-systems.

A successful formula, rather than just an arbitrary combination of successful ingredients.
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2009 4:51PM Lethality said

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Once again, Massively allows articles that are VASTLY out of touch with their audience.

This article's author seems to over-cover Second Life her at Massively, ad-nauseum. Without fail there is at least one article per day on the topic, at least.

So now, at least it's not Second Life... so what does the author do? He injects his personal opinion into the fact that "see, Second Life IS the best and Lively failing proves it!" He sounds just like an over-zealous EQ1 player who just won't let go of the fact that other games are doing it better.

I ask the Massively editors to please review this author and adjust his editorial works and access accordingly.

Posted: Jan 2nd 2009 5:53PM torchwoody said

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lethality, go crawl back under your rock. Tateru hasn't posted anything since the 27th of December, and rarely before then which is a shame because I enjoy her cogent discussions of the workings of Second Life. I look daily on Massively to see what news there is from Second Life.

And even if *SHE*(you might want to put some thought or at least some basic googling into your pronoun choices- or heck- I don't know- look at the accompanying picture) DID post something every day, you see those little links on the side? You can tailor Massively to just look at what games you are interested in. So don't muddy up the comments with your pointless bitchin' just 'cause you don't 'get' Second Life. There are plenty here who do and who aren't looking to you to be the decider of Massively content.

You've done this before on Tateru's posts, and a quick look at your comment history shows drive-by hyperbolic criticism lacking any real analysis is basically your MO. (just within six days you've posted only shallow bitchy comments about Tateru, Mark Jacobs, Penny Arcade, Warhammer Online, Mythic and ... bizarrely.... the US patent system). You have nothing constructive or even remotely cogent to offer apparently.

Take it elsewhere, or learn some manners.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 1:52PM Lethality said

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Go ahead. Prove to me I'm wrong. Prove to me that this is non-biased journalism. People coming here for news want news... not bias.

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Posted: Jan 2nd 2009 4:53PM Lethality said

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And just to add, Lively was never commercial. You can't call it a commercial failure. It was an experiment, like many of Googles efforts.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 12:38AM (Unverified) said

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Here we are referring to 'commercial' as 'produced by a commercial enterprise and that launched' as opposed to those virtual environments that were not produced by commercial enterprises or that didn't actually make it to launch.
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Posted: Jan 2nd 2009 6:44PM (Unverified) said

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I enjoy reading any articles on Massively that relate to Second Life. I do not understand why some people are against the idea of stories about SL. If you don't like SL related articles don't read anything with the tag "Second Life" on here.

Thanks Tateru and Massively for continuing to report on SL. I always find it enlightening.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 5:53AM (Unverified) said

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"If you've wondered why most of those interfaces resemble World of Warcraft to some degree, it's less a matter of ripping off Blizzard's UI, and more about the recognition of the utility of the interface."

Uhm, what? Everyone else is ripping off Blizzard's UI?! "Blizzard's" UI?! Puh-friggin-lease.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 6:42AM (Unverified) said

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"Let's introduce a new principle called necessary complexity."

This has been well known to software engineers since 1986. See the "No Silver Bullet: Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering" paper.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 6:45AM (Unverified) said

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Oh, we're well acquainted with it here (I used to teach it myself 20 years ago as a part of user-interface design), but it is new to many of our readers.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 8:38AM (Unverified) said

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Larry Wall got it right : simple things should be easy to do, complex things should be possible.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 10:49AM ultimateq said

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I never really cared for it. I tried it, all you did was walk around and talk.

There may of been emotes. I don't know, I didn't get that far.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 5:38PM (Unverified) said

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The core of the issue is public spaces with emphasis on interaction vs. public spaces with emphasis on gameplay (where social interaction is secondary).

This is one of the biggest challenges any worlds/chat maker has to overcome, then again, where have we seen wild success with open, social places (like chat), that could exist without excessive moderation and control by some entity?

I've found it hilarious how Sony's Playstation Home is criticized because of a) nothing to do and b) the quality of the user (read: dance raping) in one camp, and the other camp criticizes for lack of user-creation tools.

If you use Twitter, Facebook, post to blogs as an author or a commenter, you ARE doing the same thing that is done in virtual worlds-- there's just slight differences in UI.

Lively was an IMVU-esque 20% project within Google and isn't where Google's virtual world efforts will come from. Google can build, not *a*, but *the* virtual world, and the metaverse is just a layer on top of that we can modify and adapt on top of the engine.

The game industry will catch up-- that's my prediciton-- and they'll make good virtual spaces WITHIN a context that most people won't have a stigma over. Sitting in an inn or my safehouse garage in a racing game, is a wide-open opportunity to socialize, save, customize, *if I choose to do it*.

It's an option.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2009 5:43PM (Unverified) said

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well torin i already put lethality on ignore for his choice of words.

the only thing that came through was

(lethality said...

Go ahead. Prove to me I'm wrong. Prove to me that this is non-biased journalism. People coming here for news want news... not bias.)

to bad because he seems like a person who could be a great speaker if he wanted to be /shrug

Posted: Jan 5th 2009 2:36PM (Unverified) said

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Second Life features the most spectacular avatars in any online video game. Lively featured by far the worst. Second Life has its share of crudely built objects, but also has some awesome ones made by professional game designers who use it as a free 'sandbox' to practice their craft, and also, by quite a few talented nobodies who just enjoy the freedom to build anything their heart desires. There may never be another game like Second Life, nor any game as free and unrestricted.

Posted: Jan 5th 2009 3:40PM (Unverified) said

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I don't think that "necessary complexity" needs to be there from the beginning for all users.

Why can't the increased complexity be hidden, but available with an "advanced" button.

Better yet, a scalable complex interface that allows the user to customize the complexity beyond the simple interface if and when they choose.

I think the reason is that there hasn't been enough time yet. It takes too long to build a single interface into such a complicated thing as virtual worlds.

Had Google given it more time to develop, maybe they would have gotten there. I think however, they will choose to let others slog through the development swamp and they'll just buy who ever makes it through.

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